Abe George seems an unlikely roadblock in Charles Hynes’s drive to a seventh term as Brooklyn’s district attorney.
George, 33, has no heavy-hitting political backers, no name recognition and, so far, very little campaign money. He is the son of Indian immigrants in a city where no South Asian has ever won citywide or boroughwide office.
Yet Hynes’s 22-year reign as district attorney appears more vulnerable than it has in years. The veteran DA, who faces the voters in 2013, has taken a series of high-profile hits, mostly involving the ultra-Orthodox community.
The most serious blow came in May, when Hynes was bombarded with criticism over his special handling of ultra-Orthodox sex abuse cases, particularly his refusal to release the names of those accused or even convicted of abuse.
“How do you know what he’s done if he’s not being forthright with the names?” said George, who has spent eight years as a prosecutor in Manhattan. “I think we can stem the [ultra-Orthodox sex abuse] problem very easily by just disclosing the names. The victims will have the courage to come forward, and it sends a message to pedophiles [that] this type of behavior won’t be tolerated.”
George was sitting in Gottlieb’s, a kosher restaurant in Williamsburg, eating french fries out of a cardboard box. With his dark, South Indian complexion, tidy goatee and purple silk tie, he struck an incongruous figure among the white shirts and straggly beards of ultra-Orthodox men, most of them from the Satmar branch of Hasidism.
As George continued his critique of Hynes, two Hasidic men approached the table.
“We recognized your face,” George said they told him, “and we wanted to wish you good luck.”